Quality lighting can make or break a video production. Proper illumination transforms dull, flat footage into a professional, cinematic look. But bringing a full studio lighting setup on location is cumbersome and restrictive. This is where battery-powered LED lights come in.
Portable LEDs provide versatile, affordable lighting for today’s growing community of content creators. Whether you’re a vlogger, YouTuber, live streamer, or indie filmmaker, compact on-camera lights allow you to shoot outstanding videos anywhere. Modern LED technology also gives you adjustable brightness, color temperature, built-in effects, and wireless control from your smartphone.
In this post, we’ll cover the advantages of battery-powered lights and recommend the top LED lighting kits for videography and filmmaking. We’ll also discuss key factors in choosing the right model for your needs and budget. Let’s get started shining some light on producing professional videos!
Benefits of Battery-Powered LED Lights
First, why choose battery-powered LEDs over conventional lighting setups? Here are the core benefits:
- Portable and lightweight – No power cables to tie you down. Take them anywhere.
- Rechargeable batteries – Built-in lithium batteries last 1-10 hours per charge. Some include AC adapters.
- LED efficiency – Bright output with lower energy use, heat emission and cost over time.
- Color quality – High CRI/TLCI scores for accurate, naturalistic light.
- Durability – Withstand bumps, drops, weather on location shoots.
- Adjustability – Tune brightness, color temperature, effects via app.
- Price – Affordable for tight budgets compared to pro studio gear.
Today’s content creators demand convenience, flexibility, and mobility. That’s where rechargeable LEDs excel compared to tethered studio fixtures. Now let’s look at the top recommended portable LED lights for videography and vlogging.
Top 5 Battery-Powered Video Lights
Aputure MC RGBWW LED Light
The Aputure MC is a versatile LED light ideal for studio interviews, YouTube product reviews, and location filming. It’s packed with features while staying portable.
- Advanced RGBWW LED array – Tunable color temperature from 2700K-6500K
- Super high CRI/TLCI scores – Accurate color representation
- Built-in lighting effects – Pulse, paparazzi, lightning, TV, fireworks
- Smartphone app control – Adjust settings wirelessly
- Solid CRI and TLCI scores – Accurate color reproduction
- Convenient charging and power options – Battery or AC adapter
Weighing under 3 pounds, the Aputure MC delivers powerful 1200 lumen output. The adjustable spot/flood beam spreads from 15-55 degrees. This gives lighting flexibility for key, fill, and accent needs.
Despite its compact form, the MC feels like a sturdy pro-level light. The aircraft-grade aluminum housing shrugs off bumps and drops. Connectors, dials, and buttons have a robust quality.
Priced around $300, the MC represents an outstanding value in its class. It’s an RGBWW Swiss army knife ready to elevate your videos.
Falcon Eyes RX-18TD LED Light Kit
This daylight-balanced LED is designed for interviews, YouTube videos, and low light conditions. The sturdy light ships as a complete kit.
- Bowens mount is compatible with softboxes and modifiers
- 5600K daylight balanced temperature
- Portable yet durable metal construction
- Runs 2 hours at max brightness on battery power
- Intuitive controls with LED display
With 101 high-CRI LEDs tuned to 5600K, the RX-18TD elicits true-to-life colors. It outputs up to 2100 lux at 6.5 feet with a wide 80° beam. This provides even, soft illumination for talking head videos.
The all-metal chassis feels bombproof, living up to the light’s IP54 dust and splash resistance. Large rubberized knobs allow easily adjusting brightness and color temperature. Despite its tank-like build, the entire kit fits into a shoulder bag under 8 pounds.
For the price, the RX-18TD bundles impressive output power, build quality, and accessories. The kit includes barn doors, mount bracket, power adapter, case, and stands. At around $350, this light offers outstanding ROI for the budget-conscious video creator.
Lume Cube Panel Mini
The Panel Mini lives up to its name as an ultra-compact portable LED. Despite its small size, it pumps out powerful directional light.
Some top features:
- One of the lightest video lights at 0.8 lbs -High CRI and TLCI for accurate color
- Durable polycarbonate-nylon construction
- Waterproof design rated at IP65
- Wireless Bluetooth control from smartphone
This petite panel light belies its 1500 lumen max output. The 6000K LEDs render colors accurately with a CRI rating of 95. The 60° beam diffuses into soft, even illumination – ideal for talking head shots.
At just 6 inches wide, the Panel Mini slips into any camera bag. The sturdy exterior can withstand wet, dusty shooting conditions. Lume Cube’s intuitive app provides wireless control over brightness, color temp, strobe effects, and more.
Priced around $130, the Panel Mini suits solo content creators and vloggers. It provides an amazing amount of power from an ultra-portable form factor.
This versatile LED light works well for studio use, YouTube reviews, and interviews. It offers pro-level power in a portable package.
- Bowens mount works with modifiers and softboxes
- 5600K daylight balanced temperature
- Powered by Sony NP-F batteries or AC adapter
- Optional wireless remote for controlling settings
- Durable metal housing and accessories
The Godox SL60W outputs 5600 lumens of even 5600K light from its 152 LEDs. The wide 55° spread illuminates a soft three-dimensional look ideal for videos. The durable metal construction feels solid enough for daily use and travel.
For power, the light runs on Sony NP-F970 batteries or AC when portability isn’t needed. Godox includes an adapter plate, diffuser, barn doors, and wireless remote. At $200, this light delivers outstanding value. Consider it for YouTube product reviews, interviews, and indoor videography.
Westcott Ice Light 2
Westcott designed this LED light for the mobile filmmaker. The Ice Light 2 provides soft, balanced illumination in a rugged flexible package.
- 95 CRI for accurate color rendition
- Flexible antenna-like arm for positioning
- Lithium-ion battery powers up to one hour
- Focusable beam spreads from 15-70 degrees
- Withstands drops up to 6 feet
This unique light contains 200 LEDs tuned to 5600K inside a durable antenna-like frame. Bend the flexible chassis to aim the light across a wide range of angles and positions. Westcott built this for run and gun shoots where mobility matters.
The 95 CRI LEDs render skin tones accurately – crucial for interviews and video portraits. At max setting, the Ice Light 2 outputs up to 2800 lumens. Battery life reaches around one hour.
At $600, the Ice Light 2 sits at the higher end of portable LEDs. But for shoots where flexibility, color quality, and durability take priority, it’s a worthwhile investment.
How to Choose Battery-Powered Video Lights
With so many LED lighting options on the market, how do you select the right model? Let’s go over the core factors to consider:
- Lumens indicate maximum brightness. More is better for lighting larger areas.
- Beam angle affects spread – Narrow focuses, wide floods a scene.
- Match intensity and beam angle to your needs – key, fill, accent, back, etc.
- Battery life ranges from 1 hour up to 10 hours on a single charge.
- Some lights have AC adapters for continuous studio power.
- Higher lumen output drains batteries faster.
Weight and Portability
- Lightweight construction is ideal for travel and outdoor shoots.
- Consider included stands, mounts, cases, and accessories.
- Durable housing protects against drops, weather, dust.
Control and Connectivity
- Wired buttons or wireless Bluetooth/WiFi app control.
- Remotely adjust brightness, color temperature, effects.
- Smartphone apps provide additional functionality.
- High 90+ CRI and TLCI scores give accurate color representation.
- Color temperature – daylight, tungsten, variable
- Quality LEDs render natural, true-to-life colors.
- Entry-level lights under $100 have limited brightness and features.
- Mid-range $100-$300 offer full feature sets.
- Pro-grade $300+ designed for demanding studio use.
Intended Use Case
- Makeup tutorials – ring lights, multi-LED for diffusion.
- Interviews – small spotlights, softboxes for aesthetics.
- YouTube reviews – compact on-camera lights.
- Travel films – ultra portable sub-1lb kits.
Expert Tips for Buying LED Lights
Beyond the factors above, here are a few pro tips for selecting LED video lights:
Read Plenty of Reviews
Reviews reveal how lights perform for real-world users. Look for insights into brightness, color quality, battery life, durability, and ease of use. YouTube reviews also demonstrate lighting in action.
Consider Renting First
If available, renting lights lets you test products before buying. Some local camera shops offer rentals so you can evaluate LEDs on your actual shoots.
Think About Accessories
Consider necessary accessories like light stands, power adapters, mounts, diffusers, softboxes, and cases. Ensure the light works with third-party modifiers before purchasing.
Match Power to Usage
Plan how long you need the light for. Smaller LEDs for quick indoor videos have lower power demands compared to all-day shoot kits.
Gauge Build Quality
Examine the light quality and durability in person if possible. Look for solid construction to withstand the realities of location shooting.
By evaluating your budget, needs, and intended use, you can narrow down the LED light that best fits your production. Let’s wrap up with some answers to common questions about battery-powered lighting.
FAQs About Battery-Powered Video Lights
Q: What are the advantages of battery-powered LED lights vs studio lighting?
A: Battery LEDs provide portability, efficiency, and wireless control. But studio lights output greater brightness. Combine both for maximum flexibility.
Q: How long does the battery last on portable LED lights?
A: Depending on power draw, batteries last 1-10 hours typically. Brighter light and higher color temps drain batteries faster.
Q: What should I look for when selecting one?
A: Key factors are light output, beam angle, CRI score, weight, durability, wireless control, accessories, and budget.
Q: Can I mount them on light stands?
A: Most LEDs have a cold shoe, 1/4″-20 thread, or adaptor to mount on stands, arms, brackets, and shoe mounts.
Q: How do I adjust the color temperature?
A: Higher-end lights allow tuning in Kelvin. Cheaper models use preset modes like Tungsten or Daylight Balance.
Q: Is a high CRI rating important?
A: Yes, 90+ CRI provides natural color rendition as our eyes see it. Look for CRI and TLCI over 90.
Q: Can I control them remotely?
A: Many LEDs have Bluetooth/WiFi apps to adjust brightness, color, effects from your smartphone wirelessly.
Q: What accessories do I need?
A: Diffusers, gels, barn doors to shape light. Also light stands, shoe mounts, softboxes, cases, and extra batteries.
Q: Battery vs AC powered – which is better for studio use?
A: AC provides unlimited runtime for stationary setups. But battery power enables adjusting lights quickly on shoots.
The Future Shines Bright for LED Video Lighting
Advances in LED technology continue to empower videographers and filmmakers. The portability, efficiency, durability, and affordability of compact lights provide cinematic illumination on a budget. As online video creation explodes, expect LEDs to shine even brighter.
We covered the top-rated battery-powered LED lights across budgets and use cases. Key factors in choosing a light include output, beam angle, CRI, connectivity, accessories, and power needs. Today’s portable LEDs make it possible to take professional lighting anywhere. Just charge up and let your creativity shine!
What LED video lights do you use and recommend? Share your experiences below!